The Minnesota Vikings are off to a great start here in 2011, as I have blocked the second half of games out of my mind.

A lot of fans are grumbling about the Vikings performance and wondering how they can start to close out games.  Some suggest that it’s that they are too predictable or that it’s a lack of tackling (FYI those are both major problems).  I suggest two things the Vikings need to improve on to make the team much better.

The first is to run the ball more.  That’s right, I said more.  Adrian Peterson just received a $100 million contract as most of us know, and we need to make him earn it.  Plus, when you’re up by 10 or 17 at halftime (which they were in both games), you need to run the ball for 2 reasons.  Milking the clock and resting your defense.  Against the Chargers, if you remove AP’s 46 yard run, he still averages 3.4 yards per carry.  3.4 times a carry on 3 consecutive downs would equal 10.2 yards, and by my University of Wisconsin math, I can safely say that 10.2 yards is more than the 10 yards needed for a first down.  Now I get the predictability thing, which is why I would argue run on 1st and 2nd down, setting the team up with a 3rd and 3, or as they call it in the business “3rd and manageable” (AP had a 4.2 yards per carry against the bucs if you remove his longest run of 19 yards).  Let’s also assume for a second that the Chargers D continued to be good, and understand our predictableness (now I’m just making up words), which they did, by running on 3 straight downs, they would’ve eaten up more clock.  The Chargers game was a tough game to take for several reasons, because that wouldn’t have worked, but against the Buccaneers it would’ve worked.

The second thing the Vikings need to do comes on defense.  It goes hand in hand with their inability to tackle, but in this case I suggest they need to be able to tackle the QB.  The Vikings in the second half have not blitzed very much, if at all.  Phillip Rivers and Josh Freeman are far too good of QBs to give them all day back there (the arrogant part of me says that I would’ve completed most of those throws, in particular the ones Phillip Rivers made).  Last year, until Leslie Frazier became the Head Coach we had this problem, and Defensive Coordinator Freg Pugac promised me he was going to blitz more (not personally, but I did read a lot about how he was going to blitz more on the Vikings website).  The first half of the last two games we’ve blitzed a lot and it’s kept teams off-balance, then in the second half, we just watch the opponent beat the defense.

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